A boson sampling device is a specialised quantum computer that solves a problem which is strongly believed to be computationally hard for classical computers. Recently a number of small-scale implementations have been reported, all based on multi-photon interference in multimode interferometers. In the hard-to-simulate regime, even validating the device's functioning may pose a problem . In a recent paper, Gogolin et al. showed that so-called symmetric algorithms would be unable to distinguish the experimental distribution from the trivial, uniform distribution. Here we report new boson sampling experiments on larger photonic chips, and analyse the data using a scalable statistical test recently proposed by Aaronson and Arkhipov. We show the test successfully validates small experimental data samples against the hypothesis that they are uniformly distributed. We also show how to discriminate data arising from either indistinguishable or distinguishable photons. Our results pave the way towards larger boson sampling experiments whose functioning, despite being non-trivial to simulate, can be certified against alternative hypotheses.